★ Rich Habit #11: Doing Work You Love

This is part of our Rich Habits series, by best-selling author Tom Corley. Be sure to check out all previous habits we’ve covered!

Most of us are very good followers. We do as we are told. We become accustomed doing as we are told early in our lives. For our own good, our parents make us do things we don’t want to do: wake up early for school, eat broccoli, do homework, house chores, etc. Doing what we are told is conditioned into us from a very early age. But then we become adults. Physiologically, this metamorphosis begins at about the age of 14 and continues until about age 21. The parents who recognize this transformation slowly begin handing over decision-making to us. They encourage us to take individual responsibility. They let us make mistakes and experience some of life’s harsh realities, standing by to offer advice and direction when things go wrong. Unfortunately, parents like this are in the minority. Most continue to exert control over the lives of their children well into their 20s, preventing them from becoming independent thinkers and doers. They are sometimes referred to as "helicopter parents". We then pursue the goals and dreams of our parents rather than our own. We put our ladder on our parents’ wall and climb that ladder most of our lives. At some point, we realize we are unhappy doing what we are doing and become despondent or depressed about the work we do. This unhappiness usually begins to manifest in our mid- to late-30s, when we have children of our own. We get stuck because we believe we have no choice but to continue to climb our parents’ ladder in order to provide for our family.

How Do You Break Free?

How do you take your ladder off someone else’s wall and move it to your own wall? Successful people pursue work that they love. Because they are doing work that they love, they devote more time to it. They get labeled as “workaholics”, which is ironic because they never actually feel like they are working hard at all. To them work is play. It’s fun and it's enjoyable. They look forward to it. Because they are devoting more time to their work, they become an expert in what they do. Successful people find that niche in life that they can monetize and which energizes them with passion. With passion they are able to power through their mistakes and learn what works and what doesn’t.

Unsuccessful People Have Their Ladder on Someone Else’s Wall

They do not like what they do for a living. The poorest of the poor typically hate what they do for a living. As a result, they do the bare minimum to keep their job or earn a living. Because they devote the bare minimum to their jobs, they never become true experts in what they do. You need to take action on your goals and dreams. Devote small blocks of time in the pursuit of your own individual goals and dreams, either early in the morning, late at night or on the weekends. It is possible to scale your own wall if you devote some time – any time – each and every day. In the beginning, it will take some discipline. But once you get going, passion energy will replace willpower energy. This passion will only continue to grow and energize you. Eventually, your daily investment will get you higher up your ladder and closer to the top of your wall. You will begin to feel happy and enthusiastic the more you climb. Experts are paid the most for their knowledge and skills. Expertise expands our means (income), which enables us to accumulate enormous wealth over time. The more we practice, the more money we make and the more wealth we accumulate. In time, what we practice becomes a habit. The beauty of habits is that they endow us with instantaneous recall as well as effortless performance of our perfected skills. Passionate practice prevents poor performance by perfecting this knowledge.

Passion is the Number One Most Important Attribute of Successful People by Far

It is the catalyst that transforms ordinary individuals into exceptional individuals. When you pursue something you are truly passionate about, your life will change for the better. You know you have found that thing you are truly passionate about when it occupies your thinking 24/7. It consumes your waking moments and your dreams. Why is passion so important?

  • Passion creates persistence
  • Passion transforms even the laziest person into a workaholic
  • Passion infuses you with creativity
  • Passion allows you to overcome mistakes and failures
  • Passion turns obstacles the size of mountains into paved roads
  • Passion produces unforced focus, the most powerful type of focus
  • Passion gives you unlimited energy
  • Passion produces extreme willpower, the most powerful type of willpower

While it is still possible to “do well” in life without passion, you will never reach your full potential without it. Your success will be stunted; a fraction of what it could be. Finding your passion in life should be your main focus because with it all of your wishes and dreams will eventually become your reality. Passion forces you to grow into the person you need to become in order for success to visit you. It is the first domino of success.

  • Passion sets in motion all of the other success dominos
  • Passion trumps education
  • Passion trumps work ethic
  • Passion trumps intelligence
  • Passion trumps working capital
  • Passion trumps skills and years of technical proficiency
  • Passion trumps any advantage those who lack passion might have in life

Those who find passion simply blow the doors off those who lack it. It is not even a competition.

In Summary

Passion is like a light switch. When it is turned on, it triggers a domino effect of other success characteristics. It is the catalyst for all success. Nothing can stand in the way of a person with passion.